Monday, February 26, 2024

George Wild Tournament this weekend

Local Editor | December 5, 2023 1:00 AM

KELLOGG –– The Kellogg High School wrestling season may have already begun, but for any member of the Purple and Gold grappling community, the real kickoff is this weekend when the George Wild Memorial Wrestling Tournament takes center stage. 

The event has become one of the more prestigious wrestling tournaments in the area, not just because of the fierce level of competition, but also because of what the tournament represents. 

“George Wild kicks wrestling into high gear here in the Silver Valley,” Miller said. “It's special because it honors George who was so important to the program when he was alive. He was so positive and influential with the wrestlers of that era.”

George Wild tragically died of a heart attack while driving the wrestling team to an event in St. Maries in 2001. 

Some of the wrestlers from that era are now on the Wildcat coaching staff where they hope to have the same influence that the beloved bus driver had on them when they were in their formative years. 

This year, Kellogg head coach Scott Miller loaded the tournament field – which should make for a steep challenge if his men’s team wants to defend their championship from last year. 

Bonners Ferry, Clearwater Valley, Eureka (MT.), Flathead (MT.), Grangeville, Kellogg, Kootenai, Lakeland, Lakeside, Lapwai, Lewiston, Moscow, Orofino, Post Falls, Potlatch, Priest River, Sandpoint, St. Maries, and Timberlake will fill Andrews Gymnasium in hopes of bringing home an individual and/or team crown. 

Already this season, several of the teams have competed against each other – including at the Van Tunistra Duals this past weekend in Timberlake.

Miller expects to see Kellogg in the mix, but believes that Clearwater Valley, Eureka, Post Falls, Lakeland, and St. Maries will be right there as well. 

In the Women’s Division, Kellogg has several ladies who could claim hardware, but they’ll need to knock off the defending champs from Bonners Ferry. 

The action kicks off at 4 p.m. on Friday, and will continue until all of the divisions have reached the quarterfinal rounds. 

At 6 p.m. there will be a short break where Miller and the KHS team will honor the Wild family. 

“Delilah, George’s widow, carried on the tradition and was such a support for the coaching staff.  We're honored that Tina St. Clair, George and Delilah's daughter, carry on the tradition and we look forward to honoring the family on Friday.”

The tournament will always have a special place in Miller’s heart – when he took over the program, the school district had failed a levy and the event disappeared for a couple of years.

“Being able to bring it back and seeing it flourish shows the great support Kellogg Wrestling has received from the community,” Miller said. “It's special to our coaches, two of whom wrestled when George passed away, and to me because of the friendship Delilah and I developed as we worked to keep George's memory alive. But it's really special because there is great wrestling on both days from teams that will go on and challenge at the state level. It’s a wonderful way to start the season.”

The George Wild Memorial Wrestling Tournament is this Friday and Saturday, December 8 - 9, at Kellogg High School. Friday’s action begins at 4 p.m. and Saturday resumes at 9 a.m.

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